Eli Manning shares story behind Omaha Productions’ viral Penn State walk-on video

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Eli Manning still got his deadpan comedic timing.

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Manning is working with older brother Peyton’s Omaha Productions and NFL Films on “Alley Places”, which airs on ESPN+ and covers the history of college football. They’ve been searching for walk-ons — including Stetson Bennett, who was previously a walk-on in Georgia, and eventually led the Bulldogs to last season’s national title — and have open tryouts twice a year at Penn State. Huh.

In that vein, Manning thought it would be fun to go undercover in a Nittany Lion tryout as the long-haired, mustache Chad Powers — and the video immediately went viral.


“I wanted to see if the coaches would be interested in me,” Manning told The Post on Monday. “Head coach James Franklin was in it, but didn’t really tell any of the other coaches.”

There was some intrigue from Danny O’Brien, an offensive analyst at Penn State who played QB in college in Maryland and Wisconsin—but he eventually figured something was amiss.

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“By the end of it, he knew some running, just because of the way I looked, and how I was telling receivers what routes to run and how to run them – and I was referring to some football lingo I shouldn’t know, but Knew the coaches would know. I’m sure they’re not getting what many walk-ons are working on,’ Manning said.

He was also advertising new stories about where he was from, what he was doing—and claiming that he was homeschooled and that his mother had trained him.

“There was no script—every time I said something it was trying to be more outrageous,” Manning laughed.

Manning, who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, wore a wig that, as noted by a supervisor at the production, was “stuck in the ’80s.”

Eli Manning performs an undercover Penn State tryout as QB Chad Powers for an Omaha Productions video.
Omaha Productions

Was he worried that the wig would fall off when he ran the 40-yard dash?

“No, the wig was bobby-pinned, too tight,” Manning explained. “I started to sweat a little, and it kept flying before my eyes, so I had to put my hand through it and get it off my face. It was so tight that when I finally revealed myself he told me That I probably want to remove some pins first so that I can remove the wig more easily.

Manning had a concern? Injured myself in practice.

Eli Manning spoke to The Post about the behind the scenes aspects of the Chad Powers video produced by Omaha Productions.
Eli Manning spoke to The Post about the behind the scenes aspects of the Chad Powers video produced by Omaha Productions.
Omaha Productions

“I knew I could still throw — it’s like riding a bike, and you never forget how to throw a football,” Manning said. “But it wasn’t really until the day that I was told I’d have to run 40, do 5-10-5, do a wide jump, triple broad jump. That was my No. 1 concern. Don’t pull a hamstring. It doesn’t matter what I run, the slower the time, the better it really is.”

One of the reasons it takes a little work is that Manning, 41, has the face of a baby, and with the right makeup can really pass for someone in their 20s. As far as the secrets to her youthful look go, she revealed that she has a skincare routine.

“I apply some facial moisturizer every morning. Dry skin is a habit; I’ve been doing it since I was 13 and I had acne. I was washing my face so much it dried out, so I Had to apply a little skin lotion.”

He also said he gets enough rest – falls asleep early, and usually sleeps “at least” 7 1/2 hours a night.

Two people Manning wanted to shout out to after the success of the Chad Powers bit were NFL Films producers Tim Rumpf and Steve Menzel, who have helped him brainstorm ideas and write scripts for the show.

“They put me in the frame of mind to be myself — but also look at the bigger picture of what we want to do,” Manning said.

Credit: nypost.com /

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